What Happened to the Kawigamog?

Posted: Jan 24, 2015 | Category: Arts & Culture | View All Blog Posts

Experience the rich & vibrant culture of our area; it is a marriage of rivers and timber, connected by the iconic Kawigamog Steamship.  This region was settled by hardworking men & women, involved in the logging industry.  White Pine & Sawlog lumbering were the backbone of the pioneer economy in the late 1800’s.


Virgin forests were logged of trees up to 125’ high and over 5 feet in diameter.  These huge trees, once felled were exported to Britain, where they were used in shipbuilding.


The local shipbuilding family, the Walton’s, moved from the Magnetawan area to near Wauquimakog Lake (Now Wilson Lake) on the Pickerel River system in 1912; a year later they would build the iconic Kawigamog steamship.

Kawigamog is an Ojibway word for “Where the Waters Turn Back”, named by its designer, young Edward Walton.  Edward at that time, was also the youngest ever Captain to operate passenger steamers on inland waters at age 26, the Captain of the Kawigamog however; was his brother Arthur. The Kawigamog was the Waltons largest steamship at 72’ in length.  This large steamship was known for transporting people and products along the many miles of waterway known as the Pickerel River.  From 1913- 1928 the famous steamship carried both passengers and goods regularly on the seventy kilometer trip between Duck Lake, south of Port Loring to north of the Ess Narrows to Dollars Dam.

With the advent of roads suitable for cars and trucks, more people began to travel this way, and there was less and less passenger business for the Kawigamog.  The logging industry also began to slow at this point, and the mighty Kawigamog was starting to show her years.  The Kawigamog was still needed on the river as she was the only steamship with customized ice breakers that was capable of breaking solid ice, up to 3” thick.

The Kawigamog was an integral part in both logging, building of community and tourism in the Loring-Restoule region.  This famous steamship met its watery end, when some say it was deliberately scuttled (sank) off the dock in Port Loring.  Where she lays now remains a mystery.